A Travel Price Comparison for Colorado Aspen vs. Vail for Skiing, Food, Families, and Couples

Should you visit Aspen or Vail?

Which is cheaper to visit? Which is more expensive for vacation?

Trying to figure out where to travel next? This travel comparison between Aspen and Vail can help. It includes a travel cost comparison in addition to other factors. For many travelers, the cost of a destination is a primary consideration when choosing where to go.


Aspen is a charming, quaint, and vibrant ski town. With plenty of activities and sights, this is a small town worth visiting. The beauty of this spot is also one of the main reasons why visitors come. This destination also has one of those special and quaint feelings. Visitors also love the nightlife, live music, and food.


Vail is a scenic, vibrant, and upscale ski town. Because it offers so much small town charm with a variety of activities, it attracts plenty of visitors for a good reason. With stunning beauty, it attracts visitors from all around. As it offers a special and quaint atmosphere, visitors come from all over to experience this destination. Other popular activities here include live music, food, and hiking.

Aspen and Vail: Pros and Cons

  • Popular for skiing
  • Popular for food and cuisine
  • Good music scene
  • Good for hiking
  • Good for couples and romance
  • Small town charm
  • Impressive beauty
  • Less family-friendly
  • Popular for skiing
  • Good music scene
  • Good for hiking
  • Family-friendly
  • Good for couples and romance
  • Small town charm
  • Impressive beauty
  • Quaint atmosphere
  • Less popular for food

How is Aspen different from Vail?

Which is Better for a Holiday?

Let's take a look at the differences and similarities between Vail and Aspen. Then, you can decide for yourself which place is better for your next trip.

Is Aspen or Vail better for Skiing?

Aspen and Vail are fun places to visit for winter sports such as skiing.

Visitors will find world class skiing in Aspen. Near the town, there are 4 separate ski resorts. In town you'll find Aspen Mountain, which is known for it's black-diamond runs. Aspen Highlands, a couple miles away, has a mix of slopes and is less crowded. Buttermilk attracts many freestyle skiers and Aspen Snowmass is considered one of the best family-friendly ski areas.

Vail is a top destination for snow skiing, and it attracts visitors from around the world. This ski town has produced its share of Olympians. Vail is the third largest ski resort in the US and it has 31 lifts and 195 runs. There are five different bowls that offer beautiful views.


Is Aspen or Vail better for Food?

Aspen has a longer list of notable local restaurants than Vail.

Many restaurants in Aspen have been singled out for their culinary prowess. The town hosts many food festivals and there is a growing selection of diverse restaurants.

There are plenty of up and coming restaurants around Vail. The town has a diverse sampling of restaurants that include different ethnic options as well as taverns with comfort food.


Is Aspen or Vail better for Nightlife?

It's hard to distinguish whether Aspen or Vail has a better nightlife scene.

The people in Aspen know how to have a good time. The people in Aspen know how to have a good time. The nightlife scene includes craft beer, live music, and dancing.

The nightlife in Vail has something for everybody. Happy Hours start early, and then the partying can go late into the night.


Is Aspen or Vail better for Music?

Live music enthusiatsts will find something to enjoy in either Aspen or Vail.

Aspen has become a hotbed of musicians and artists. Popular music venues in town include Silver City Mountain Saloon and Belly Up Aspen.

You don't have to look far to find a unique music venue in Vail. You can often find live music at Shakedown Bar, Bridge Street Bar, and the Red Lion.


Is Aspen or Vail better for Resorts?

If luxury resorts are your style, both Aspen and Vail have options.

In Aspen, you'll find some of the region's top resorts. Popular resorts in the area include The Little Nell, Hotel Jerome, and St. Regis Aspen.

There are plenty of resorts in Vail to choose from. Designed as a resort town, Vail offers great accommodation. Nice resorts include Four Seasons Resort and Residences, the Ritz Carlton Club, and the Grand Hyatt.


Is Aspen or Vail better for Hiking?

Both Aspen and Vail are destinations which offer hiking.

You'll find a nice variety of hiking trails around Aspen. During the summer and fall seasons, hiking is a great way to explore Aspen's nearby beauty. Popular trails include the Ute Trail, the Lost Man Trail, and the famous Maroon Bells Scenic Trail.

Many visitors go to Vail for the hiking trails. Popular hikes near Vail include Booth Falls, Davos Trail, and Shrine Ridge.


Is Aspen or Vail better for Shopping?

Shopping is a popular activity in both Vail and Aspen.

Browsing through shops is a popular activity in Aspen. The has many great local shops and art galleries where you can pick interesting items or fine art.

Shopping is a popular activity when visiting Vail. It's easy to pop into the many shops around downtown Vail.


Is Aspen or Vail better for Christmas?

The Christmas season is a nice time to visit both Aspen and Vail.

Aspen is a world class destination for shoppers. There are a number of beautiful activities that will bring the holiday season to life in the town.

People travel from all around to experience the Christmas season in Vail. The town is a winter wonderland during the holidays. Check out the iconic Christmas tree lighting and wander through the fairytale streets.


Is Aspen or Vail better for Christmas Markets?

Both Aspen and Vail have fun Christmas markets during the holiday season.

Aspen has a lively atmosphere around its Christmas markets. The town has a charming Christmas market that is fun to explore and has around 40 vendors.

The Christmas markets in Vail offer plenty to see during the holidays. The town's Christmas Market is picturesque, and the perfect place to pick up some unique gifts.


Is Aspen or Vail better for Families?

Vail is considered to a better choice for families.

Vail is an extremely popular ski town to visit for families. With its world class skiing, rock climbing, ice skating, and ice cream, kids love this ski resort. The resort town has two terrain parks - Golden Peak and Avanti. Avanti is perfect for kids. It has small jumps, wide rails, and kid-friendly amenities. Golden Peak is designed for more advanced athletes. Vail also has nice beginner slopes that are great for kids.

Aspen offers lots of family activities. Families that enjoy skiing together hiking, rock climbing, and having adventures will enjoy a visit to this town. Aspen Mountain is not a great option for beginning skiers, but further away, Aspen Snowmass offers good beginner slopes.


Is Aspen or Vail better for Couples?

Both Aspen and Vail are good destinations for a couple's getaway.

Couples visit Aspen frequently as it offers plenty of romantic activities. Aspen is both a popular ski destination as well as an established town. There are many great restaurants and activities that couples can enjoy.

Vail is fantastic couple's destination with fun and romantic activities. Couples who enjoy skiing and outdoor adventure will appreciate everything that this ski town has to offer. There are nice restaurants, beautiful gardens, and plenty of romantic activities to choose from.


Is Aspen or Vail better for Public Transit?

You'll find somewhat comparable public transit options in both Aspen and Vail.

You'll find some public transit in Aspen, but it may not be enough to take you everywhere. There are several shuttle buses around the town.

While Vail offers some public transit options, it might not be your first choice. There is a free bus service through the area.


Is Aspen or Vail a more walkable city?

Aspen and Vail both are comparable when exploring on foot.

Aspen is a very walkable destination. The town is compact enough that it can be explored on foot. If you're planning to head into the mountains to hike, you'll likely need a car.

Vail is a very easy ski town to get around on foot. The main downtown is pedestrian-only and perfect for popping in shops and restaurants.


Should I spend more time in Vail or Aspen?

How long in Aspen or Vail?

Both Aspen and Vail have a number of activities to choose from. With generally more activities and things to do, visitors tend to spend more time in Vail than Aspen.

The ideal length of time for a trip to Aspen is 3-5 days, and the ideal length of time for a trip to Vail is 3-7 days.

  • How many days in Aspen or Vail? Ideal Length of Stay
    Aspen 3-5 
    Vail 3-7

One day in Aspen or Vail?

Aspen is a small town where visitors enjoy the skiing and nightlife. Hiking can easily take up a good amount of your time here, too. Take your pick from the many activities offered around the area. With so much to do, one day is probably not enough time to see everything.

In Vail, many people enjoy the nightlife and live music that this resort-filled small town offers. People enjoy relaxing at one of the resorts. Lots of people come for the skiing. This ski town offers a variety of activities to choose from. Since there is so much to do in the area, one day is probably not enough for all of it.

A weekend in Aspen or Vail?

Aspen is a fun place to experience. You can also relax and pamper yourself at one of the resorts. But since there are so many activities, you'll likely want to spend more than a weekend exploring. The entire area has lots to do.

It's hard to know how much time to spend in Vail. Many travelers plan to spend time hiking while in the area. A weekend is usually not enough time for a trip here as there is plenty to do. The length of your ideal trip is an individual decision.

Five days in Aspen or Vail?

Aspen might be a small town, but there's plenty to do in the area. This ski town offers something for everyone. Many visitors also spend a good bit of time hiking. Plenty of people spend five days here when traveling. Five days is often enough time to spend here.

Vail is a fun place to experience. Lots of people come for the skiing. People often spend their time relaxing at one of the resorts. This would be the perfect place to spend five days, as it has just the right amount of activities.

A week in Aspen or Vail?

Because Aspen is a small town, it's easy to explore in a short amount of time. Make sure you spend some time hiking while you're in the area. The length of your trip often depends on your style of travel. One week is usually plenty of time to spend here with extra days to spare. With this much time, visitors often visit nearby destinations or take day trips.

In Vail, many people enjoy the shopping and skiing that this charming small town offers. Plenty of people spend one week here when traveling. You can also relax and pamper yourself at one of the resorts. Take your pick from the many activities offered around the area. Lots of people come for the skiing. One week is often enough time to spend here.

Which city is cheaper, Vail or Aspen?

These are the overall average travel costs for the two destinations.

The average daily cost (per person) in Aspen is $235, while the average daily cost in Vail is $233. These costs include accommodation (assuming double occupancy, so the traveler is sharing the room), food, transportation, and entertainment. While every person is different, these costs are an average of past travelers in each city. What follows is a categorical breakdown of travel costs for Aspen and Vail in more detail.

  • Accommodation Hotel or hostel for one person
    Aspen $136
    Vail $139
  • Accommodation Typical double-occupancy room
    Aspen $272
    Vail $278

Local Transportation
  • Local Transportation Taxis, local buses, subway, etc.
    Aspen $45
    Vail $16

Hired Cars and Shuttles in Aspen

Some specific examples of transportation prices in Aspen:

  • Private Transfer: Aspen to Denver International Airport (DEN): $1,321
  • Aspen hotel or address to Denver Airport (DEN) - Departure Private Transfer: $796
  • Private Eagle County Regional Airport Transfer to Aspen: $400
  • Private Departure Transfer to Aspen Airport (ASE): $36
  • Private Arrival Transfer from Aspen Airport (ASE): $36

Hired Cars and Shuttles in Vail

Also for Vail, here are a few examples of actual transportation services:

  • Private Airport Transfer Service - Vail Hotels to Denver Int'l Airport: $600
  • Private Departure Transfer to Vail Airport EGE: $128
  • Private Eagle County Airport Transfer to Vail: $210
  • Private Eagle County Regional Airport Transfer to Beaver Creek: $190
  • Private Transfer: Vail to Denver International Airport (DEN): $576
  • Shared Transfer from Vail or Beaver Creek to Denver Downtown: $99
  • Transfer in private minivan from Vail city to Denver International Airport (DEN): $291

Is it cheaper to fly into Aspen or Vail?

Prices for flights to both Vail and Aspen change regularly based on dates and travel demand. We suggest you find the best prices for your next trip on Kayak, because you can compare the cost of flights across multiple airlines for your prefered dates.

  • Food Meals for one day
    Aspen $68
    Vail $60

  • Entertainment Entrance tickets, shows, etc.
    Aspen $36
    Vail $106

Tours and Activities in Aspen

Here are a few actual costs in Aspen for available activities, ticket prices, and tours:

  • Aspen's DarkSide Ghost Tour: $40
  • Aspen's Past to Present Historic Tour: $40
  • Glimpse of Aspen Tour: $40

Tours and Activities in Vail

Also, here are some specific examples of entertainment, tickets, and activities for Vail.

  • Listen to a Tour Guide While you Drive between Vail & Denver: $3.75
  • Vail Segway Tour from Vail Village: $89
  • Dillon Marina & Shopping Tour: $267
  • Glenwood Adventure Park Tour: $350
  • Fall Leaves Tour from Vail: $373
  • Glenwood Hot Springs Tour: $377
  • Blackhawk-Central City Casino Tour from Vail: $377
  • Aspen Independence Pass Day Tour: $545
  • Historic Mining Town Tour: $693

  • Alcohol Drinks for one day
    Aspen $16
    Vail $7.83

Sample the Local Flavors in Vail

Also in Vail, these are the prices for nightlife and alcohol related activities from various tour providers:

  • Vail Valley Brewery & Wine Tour: $377
  • Palisade Wine Tour from Vail: $779

When comparing the travel costs between Aspen and Vail, we can see that Aspen is more expensive. However, the two cities are actually relatively comparable in price, as the difference is somewhat minimal. Generally, this means that you could travel with generally the same travel style and level of luxury in each place. Since both cities are in North America, it's no surprise that their costs are relatively close, as many destinations here have somewhat similar travel prices overall.

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Aspen vs. Vail Travel Comparison

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